You probably think not. But, statistics say you may be wrong–even if you’re aware of and disapproving of those same risky behaviors in others on the road.
According to the most recent Traffic Safety Culture Index from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (AAA), most drivers have strong views about the danger of activities like distracted driving, speeding, and tailgating. Most also think their friends and families disapprove of those risky driving behaviors. Still, many admit to at least some of the actions they’ve deemed very dangerous or extremely dangerous.
Dangerous Driving by the Numbers
AAA surveyed thousands of drivers about their attitudes, assumptions, and actions. Here’s what they learned about some of the most common types of risky road moves.
96.1% of survey respondents said driving while you’re so tired that you’re having trouble keeping your eyes open is either extremely or very dangerous. More than 75% said “extremely dangerous.” And, they’re right. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 90,000 traffic accidents annually involve drowsy drivers. These collisions cause tens of thousands of injuries and hundreds of deaths.
Those who answered the survey were even more likely to believe the important people in their lives would disapprove–97.4%. But, they didn’t think fatigued drivers were very likely to be caught by the police.
23.6% said they’d driven when they were so tired they were having trouble keeping their eyes open at least once in the previous 30 days. A small percentage said they did so regularly or fairly often. That’s a significant disconnect between perceived risk and behavior, but that gap is larger for some other driving behaviors.
Texting and Driving
94.3% of drivers surveyed consider reading text or email on their phones while driving either extremely or very dangerous, and the percentage is even higher when it comes to typing out a text or email. The vast majority also think their friends and family would disapprove.
In fact, 58.3% said they would strongly support a law that prohibited holding a cell phone to read, type, or send a text message or email while driving, and another 27.8% (for a total of more than 86%) said they would somewhat support such a law. 44% even indicated support for a law against using hands-free technology to read, create or send texts or emails while driving.
Still, 38.6% said they’d read a text or email while driving in the past 30 days, and 29.3% said they’d manually typed or sent a text message or email. Worse, more than 73% of those who said they’d read at least one text or email and 67% of those who said they’d typed or manually sent a message said they’d done so a few times, fairly often, or regularly in the preceding month.
Running Red Lights
In 2019, more than 800 people were killed and another 143,000 injured by drivers running red lights. And, most drivers seem to recognize just how dangerous that behavior is. 56% said it was extremely dangerous to drive through a light that had just turned red when you could have stopped safely. Another 41% said it was very or moderately dangerous. Still, nearly ⅓ said they’d done it at least once in the preceding 30 days, and more than 15% said they’d done it more than once.
Practicing What You Preach on the Road
While the exact percentages and the degree of disconnect differs depending on the specific behavior, a not-insignificant percentage of those who view an action on the road as dangerous will typically admit to having done that very thing recently. In addition to the actions described in detail above, people who view the actions as very or extremely dangerous have admitted to:
- Holding and talking on a cell phone while driving
- Aggressively changing lanes or tailgating
- Driven when they thought they might be over the legal limit for blood alcohol content
When you also consider people who said the action was moderately or slightly dangerous, the list expands to include:
- Driving with an hour of having used marijuana
- Driving when using a potentially-impairing prescription drug
In other words, most of us know what we need to do to stay safe on the road and protect ourselves and others. But, a lot of us aren’t doing it.
If you’ve been injured by a driver who negligently disregarded safety considerations, you may be entitled to compensation.
Atlanta attorney ReShea Balams fights for maximum compensation for people who have been injured through someone else’s negligence. The Balams Firm offers free, no-obligation consultations so injury victims can gather the information they need to make good decisions in difficult times. You can schedule yours right now by calling 855-352-2727 or filling out the contact form on this page.